June 30, 2013

Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 Proposed to End Unemployment Discrimination

“A new bill introduced on capitol hill would forbid employers from rejecting applicants because they are unemployed. Supported by Representatives Rosa DeLuaro of Connecticut and Henry Johnson Jr. of Georgia, the introduction of the Fair Employment Act of 2011 falls just behind the release of a new report from the National Employment Law Project. The report shows that the exclusion of unemployed workers from a companies prospective employment pool is at an all time high. In a study conducted on online job posting boards an overwhelming number of employment opportunities outright state that applicants “”must be employed.”" Companies, such as Allstate Insurance, Home Builder Recruiters of American, and even several Universities are not even trying to hid their discrimination. Some companies have even gone so far as to say that applicants must be employed on a permanent basis. Others were more lenient and required that applicants without jobs must only be recently unemployed. That does nothing for the millions of Americans that have been unemployed for more than six months.

“”It is unjust for employers to discriminate against those who are unemployed,”" said Representative DeLauro. In an economy that is more stagnant than fluid, more than six million Americans are currently unemployed and this new trend companies are following is making it even more difficult for Americans to get back to work. Supporters of the bill claim that what the companies are doing is in direct violation of a citizens rights, the right for equal opportunity of employment. The practice is also a negative for the American economy as a whole and makes it so that only those who are currently employed can even attempt to get a job, a job that they do not need. Leaving the unemployed Americans in an unending cycle of job seeking and pro-longing the economic hardships that this country is facing.

Polls show that the American public overwhelmingly approves of the proposed bill with eighty percent saying it is a very unfair practice and two to one saying that some sort of ban should be put in place to prevent companies from turning down applicants because of their current employment status.”

For more information, click here:

UnemployedWorkers.org

Unemployed? These Companies Won’t Hire You

Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011

Johnson Introduces Legislation to Prevent Discrimination Against Jobless

Discrimination Persists for Unemployed Job Seekers, New Report Finds

Ron Paul to Retire from Congress and Focus on Presidential Race

“Veteran Congressman Ron Paul announced Tuesday that he will not be running for re-election to Congress next year, instead focussing his attention on his run for President.

Rep. Paul, who won the Republican Straw Poll in New Orleans last month, is receiving growing support for his Presidential run, but he has said he will serve out his current term which ends in December 2012, regardless of the outcome of his bid to become President.

“”I think that you have more credibility if you run for only one office at a time,”" said Paul, who has been criticized in the past for running for both President and Congress at the same time. “”I felt it was better that I concentrate on one election,”" he said. “”It’s about that time when I should change tactics.”"

A former obstetrician, Paul has been a Congressman for 24 years, serving 12 terms for a Southeast Texas district. His unorthodox mix of Republican and libertarian politics has earned him the name “”the intellectual godfather”" of the tea party movement.

“”Ron has served Texans in Congress with distinction for nearly 24 years as a fierce advocate for a more limited government. His steadfast devotion to his core beliefs has earned him the respect and loyalty from Texans and Americans of all walks of life,”" said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Paul is opposed to US military overseas involvement, is in favor of legalizing marijuana, and is strongly opposed to the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Reserve, going as far as introducing legislation to abolish them.

Paul’s run for presidency has delighted the Texas Democratic Party, especially with the possibility of another Texas Republican, Governor Rick Perry, entering the race.

Texas Democratic Party spokesperson Kristen commented “”Ron Paul has long been an unorthodox politician, someone who’s defied GOP politicians as well as Democrats. He’s likely to carry that quality into the GOP presidential field, where he could cause problems for Rick Perry and other Republicans by calling them out for the hypocrisy and inconsistency within their party.”"

In June, Paul became the first 2012 Republican Presidential candidate to sign the Cut, Cap, and Balance Pledge, which calls for changes in the debt limit, taxation and spending cuts. It also supports a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.”

Resource link:

Associated Press

Ron Paul 2010 Presidential Campaign Commitee

Ron Paul Congressional Site

Ron Paul – Wikipedia

Ron Paul – Unofficial Election Site

Obama Talks Tough on Debt Ceiling and Deficit Deal

Obama Talks Tough on Debt Ceiling and Deficit Deal

With the date that we hit the debt ceiling looming, and progress coming along at a glacial pace, President Obama is trying once again to kick lawmakers into gear. With growing frustration at the lack of solutions, President Obama has stopped pointing the finger at just Republicans and shifted some of his attention to democrats as well, calling on members of both parties to put aside their differences and find common ground and solutions to these problems. Not only does this make the President’s desire for a budget solution clear, but this new strategy also paints himself as a moderate who can appeal to independent and middle of the road voters.

Resource link:

NYTimes.com

Obama: I Won’t Sign Any ‘Stop-Gap’ Debt Deal

Congress Budget and Debt Ceiling Crisis

“An editorial in the Times Union of Albany, New York, Thursday expressed alarm over the impending Aug. 2 deadline for Congress to raise the federal debt limit. It decried the latest inaction of Congress, and points to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to budge on tax cuts as a major cause of the impasse.

Congress Budget and Debt Ceiling Crisis

President Obama gathered House and Senate leaders to a White House meeting Thursday and expressed hope that the debt crisis would be resolved, giving the government an opportunity to find ways to live within its budgetary means. He urged members of both parties to come out of their comfort zones in tackling the nation’s debt.

The current federal debt limit, last increased in February 2010, stands at $14.3 trillion. That is the limit to the amount of securities that the U.S. Treasury can issue to pay for government expenses. If a deal is not reached to raise the debt ceiling before Aug. 2, some experts predict a widespread upheaval in the world’s financial markets.

The Obama administration will seek broad changes in entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare, in a $4-trillion reduction program, according to a Los Angeles Times report this week. This is actually larger than than the spending cuts Republican leaders have proposed and is expected to face some resistance from Democratic lawmakers, especially those facing reelection in 2012. Reportedly the administration hopes it will clear the logjam with GOP leaders, who have so far have to resisted any tax increase proposals.

What are the White house options if Congress can not come to an agreement on the debt ceiling before the Aug. 2 deadline? Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will not even consider it.

“”Our plan is for Congress to pass the debt limit,”" said Geithner in May, “”Our fall-back plan is for Congress to pass the debt limit, and our fall-back plan to the fall-back plan is for Congress to pass the debt limit.”"”

More information:

Exclusive: Treasury secretly weighs options to avert default

Five myths about the debt ceiling

What’s the debt ceiling, and why is everyone in Washington talking about it?

Obama seeks broad deal on entitlements, tax code in debt talks

U.S. House of Representatives: Powers and Functions

The chief job of the House of Representatives—aka, “the House”– is to represent the interests of the people—those American citizens that vote and elect each representative. Compare this to the role of the Senate: to represent the interests of each state.

US House Of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives makes up one half of Congress. The other half is made up by the Senate. Together they are also known as the legislative branch of government—the part that introduces and handles laws and amendments to laws.

At any one time the House has a variable number of representatives. Unlike the Senate, which has 2 senators from each state, the number of representatives per state depends on its population, but all must have at least one. The more populous the state—like Florida or California—the greater the number of representatives.

Article I of the U.S. Constitution, defines the unique powers of both the Senate and the House. Despite the fact that there is some overlap in responsibility, there are key differences in powers.

House Powers

According to the Constitution the U.S. House of Representatives has the following key powers:

  • Power to set in motion impeachment proceedings (it is up to the Senate to bring those proceedings into a trial setting). For example, had Richard Nixon not resigned his position as president for his role in Watergate, the House would likely have voted (a majority) to impeach him, at which point any formal proceedings would have moved to the Senate.
  • Power to elect the President of the United States. This would only happen if electoral votes were tied. The Senate has the power to do the same with the office of Vice President. Of course it cannot choose randomly, but must select from candidates with the most electoral votes.
  • Power to introduce laws and legislation that specifically deal with revenue and taxes. Because revenue and taxes are issues closely related to their constituents or the people that voted for them, the House is granted the power to introduce these.
  • Power to introduce laws and legislation other than revenue-related, but this is also a power shared with the Senate.
  • Power to participate in Joint Committees alongside senate members, such as the Joint Committee on Taxation or Joint Economic Committee.

About the U.S. House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives is broken down into a number of parts and roles:

  • Of the Leadership Offices, by far the most familiar is that of the Speaker of the House. This role is given to a senior leader of the majority party, usually a key Democrat or Republican, who is voted in by his/her fellow party-members.
  • Committees are used to distribute advisory responsibilities among members and logically separate topics of business, such as agriculture, finance, transportation, and energy.
  • Special committees may be created to deal with current issues, for example, the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
  • There are additional organizations and commissions.

For more information, including a list of current committees and a House Calendar, visit House.gov. [http://www.house.gov/Welcome.shtml ]

U.S. Senate: Powers and Functions

The Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. To complicate matters, this duo is also known as the Legislative Branch. The Senate is the more powerful of the two with distinct powers and functions not shared with the “House.”

US Senate

In a nutshell, the Senate possesses the power to review and debate bills, treaties, and proposed legislation and to provide some oversight to the president’s administration. Their chief job is to represent the interests of each state in the political process versus the House, which is charged to represent the interests of the people.

There are 100 senators at any one time, two for each state. They serve six-year terms and can be re-elected indefinitely. For example, Ted Kennedy served as a Massachusetts senator from 1962 until his death in 2009.

About the U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate is broken down into various components including the following:

  • The Vice President of the United States is directly associated to the Senate. In theory he directs the Senate business, but on any given day an alternate, called the president pro tempore, usually presides.
  • Party leaders or majority leaders represent their respective parties in presenting arguments and leading debates.
  • Committee leaders preside over the various Senate committees.
  • Committees – there are 20 – deal with specialized areas of legislation, or laws and statutes.
  • Joint committees – there are 4 – are made up of both Senate and House members and are responsible for specialized topics of business, such as taxes (Joint Committee on Taxation) and economics (Joint Economic Committee).

Unique Powers

Article I of the U.S. Constitution declares that the Senate can wield the following special powers:

  • Review and provide advice on presidential appointments and nominations.
  • Ratify treaties by a majority vote. What does this mean? The senate has the power to approve or deny an international agreement. It only needs a 2/3 vote of members to move to the president who can then “ratify” it.
  • Elect the Vice President of the U.S., if necessary. This would only happen if state electoral votes were tied and the House would have to be in agreement.
  • Create new legislation—bills, laws, etc. The House and Senate can introduce new legislation–usually at the subcommittee level—but the Senate has the most power to debate, modify, and even block proposed legislation. The exceptions are the introduction of revenue-related bills or legislation governing the use of federal money. Only the House of Representatives can introduce these.
  • Consider any legislation and bills introduced by the president.
  • “Try” any impeachment proceedings started in the House of Representatives. The Senate also has extensive investigative power and can hold official hearings, summon witnesses, etc. A famous example of this is the 1973 Senate Watergate Hearings.

Senate Committees

The business of the Senate is so varied that there are committees created to handle topical areas of business. Committees are further subdivided into subcommittees and can change over time or as needed. For example, during the Watergate years a special committee—the Senate Watergate Committee– was formed and made responsible for investigating the incident.

You can learn more about the U.S. Senate, read transcripts of hearings and daily business, and get additional information on the various committees, by visiting Senate.gov. [http://www.senate.gov/ ]

Marijuana Legalization Proposed in Congress

On June 23rd 2011, House of Representatives Democrat Barney Frank and Republican Ron Paul introduced a joint legislation, Bill HR 2306, that would limit the federal governments involvement in the prosecution of marijuana. It would also remove the criminal penalties associated with marijuana in the Controlled Substance Act. In essence, the government would only get involved if the case involved inter-state or cross border smuggling. This rare bi-partisan legislation is being introduced just weeks after an international panel declared the war on drugs a failure and recommended the United States legalize marijuana.

“Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom.” Representative Franks voiced in a statement later that day.

He also insists that this bill is not advocating the legalization of marijuana but instead is focused on clarifying the current conflicts between state and federal laws regarding marijuana. As of 2011 there are 16 states, in addition to Washington DC, that allow the use of medicinal marijuana, an allowance that is in direct contradiction of federal law. If this bill passes it would free up the federal government to focus on more pressing crimes and allow states to decide what is best for their citizens. Rep. Ron Paul said in a statement, likens the marijuana prohibition to the alcohol prohibition of years past.

“I would say marijuana, as far as causing highway problems, is minuscule compared to alcohol,” Paul said. “Yet we know the prohibition of alcohol was very bad. This is just getting back to a sensible position on how we handle difficult problems.”

However, the bill has strong opponents, including Republican Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, who is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee that the bill must pass through.

“Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease.” Smith told the Associated Press and continued to say that the Judiciary Committee would turn down the bill.

Regardless of the heated debate on both sides of the aisle this is just another step in an attempt to solve the criminal drug problem in the United States and this legislation has made history as the first bill to be introduced to ease the prohibition of marijuana.”